New Delhi: Josh Hazlewood may finally earn his baggy green cap this week when Australia play India in the second Test of the four-match series at the Gabba. And giving that hint is non other than Australia coach Darren Lehman.
After a hard-fought win in Adelaide, Lehman admitted that their pace department is struggling with fitness. The series opener witnessed Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle leading the charge with all-rounder Shane Watson giving them breaks.
Despite their fearsome reputation as one of the best pace attacks in the world, spinner Nathan Lyon stole the show taking 12 wickets in the match.
"We will see how they pull up. If they are 100 per cent they will play. We will pick the best team to get 20 wickets... A couple of them are sore but the next day or two will tell," Lehman said.
In such a situation, chances of 23-year-old Hazlewood making his Test debut are rather bright. In fact, Phillip Hughes’ tragic passing denied a certain start for him in the first Test, which was reshuffled. The rescheduled fixture provided injured Harris enough time to hit the nets and impress the selectors.
Hazlewood was named the 12th man in the Adelaide Test, and saw his fellow fast bowlers overshadowed by the slow bowlers in a slow top. However, it all can change in Brisbane. The famous Gabba pitch is known as one of the fastest and Hazlewood's imposing frame with a height of 6 ft 5 in, selectors will surely give a serious thought to allow the New South Wales bowler a go at Indians.
If at all, Hazlewood is making his debut in Brisbane, then he will replace either Harris or Siddle. While Harris's fitness still remains a major concern, Siddle's form has been far from satisfactory. Despite taking two wickets in India's first innings, Siddle bowled only nine overs, without success, in the second innings. And it was mainly due to his slowing pace.
About Harris' fitness, Lehman conceded he doesn't really know. "He's just come back in the side. You'd like to think so at the Gabba. Having said that if they are not 100 per cent they won't play,” he added.
The coach also said that Siddle has been unwell but they are happy with the limited role the veteran is performing.
"He was a little bit unwell first innings. Second innings it was the nature of the game. He bowled tightly which is what we need from him - getting some more wickets if possible... He knows that but he is doing everything he can behind the scenes. He's OK," Lehman said.
With agency inputs